ITV charge dents BSkyB

Pay TV operator takes hit on its stake in ITV

LONDON -- New British Sky Broadcasting CEO Jeremy Darroch on Wednesday announced a loss of 6 million pounds ($11.9 million) for the company's fiscal third quarter, compared with a profit of 142 million pounds a year ago. The U.K.'s biggest pay TV operator took a 131 million pound ($259.6 million) hit on the value of its stake in broadcaster ITV.

The impairment charge brings to 474 million pounds the total amount Sky has written off relating to the 17.9% stake it paid 940 million pounds for in November.

Revenue grew 8% to 1.3 billion pounds ($2.5 billion), and net subscriber numbers were up 56,000 to 8.9 million. Sky's broadband subscribers jumped 229,000 in the period, and subs for its DVR service Sky Plus were up 262,000.

In London, the company's shares closed up 0.8% at 5.45 pounds ($10.80) as analysts broadly welcomed the results.

"Sky is focusing its above-the-line spend on content rather than hardware in the quarter," UBS Investment Research said in a note. "Despite a difficult environment, customer growth increased 10% year-on-year, with customers taking more products than ever before."
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